Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson‘s God Is The Bigger Elvis, one of the nominees for Best Documentary Short Subject, is a congenial, fair-minded portrait of the actress once known as Dolores Hart, who had a pretty good career for a while (costarring in Loving You, Miss Lonelyhearts, King Creole, etc.) until she decided to hang it up and become a nun in 1963. Now 73, she lives in a Benedictine retreat in Connecticut and is called Mother Prioress.
Hart was invited to pursue a higher calling, and I think it’s nice that she chose a nun’s life and stuck to it, and that she seems serene about this. Some of us wind up with jobs that make us happy, and that’s a good thing. But while it’s fine to contemplate a life of such austerity, it’s hard to relate to this. Surely Cammisa and Anderson realize that Mother Prioress might seem, her charitable and kindly manner aside, like a bit of an odd duck from an average viewer’s perspective. Well, not “odd,” really, but curious. Gently and agreeably possessed, so to speak. And so some will find it strange that they chose not to mention that she’s still a member fo the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and that she presumably receives screeners and keeps up with everything. Why hide that?
It’s hard to match the face of Mother Prioress with the one Hart had in the late ’50s and early ’60s — there’s really no resemblance.
The character who makes the film come together emotionally is Hart’s ex-fiance, Don Robinson, who says he was hurt when she told him she was breaking their engagement to join the church, and that he’s been visiting her at the Connecticut residence for 47 years. (This portion of the film was apparently shot in 2010.)
All in all God Is the Bigger Elvis is an intriguing visit. A meditation, in a sense. The fact that I am 100% persuaded that there is no entity as the Catholics imagine God to be (i.e., a cosmic, sentient energy force that comprehends and cares about the moral goings-on on Planet Earth) did not interfere with my interest or concentration.
Updated: I’ve been given a more accurate capturing of yesterday’s volatile Twitter volley between Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg that occured in the wake of the BAFTA Awards.
Boiled down, Feinberg is an advocate of journalistic impartiality, and Stone, to her credit, is an advocate of the Oscar nominees she believes in. And never the twain shall meet. Here’s how it went down (with edits):
AwardsDaily: The Artist [wins at] BAFTA. What a shocker! The most painful BAFTAs I have ever endured, honest to God.
ScottFeinberg: People dumping on The Artist: have a little class and shut up.
AwardsDaily: Watch out, Feinberg talking about class again!
ScottFeinberg: Absolutely. Why don’t you overreact to this again too like the Rooney Mara thing?
AwardsDaily: That doesn’t hold as much interest for me. But class has nothing to do with bagging on the Artist because to do that is to bag on awards season.
ScottFeinberg: Class is not spending every waking minute suggesting a film’s unworthy just cuz you don’t like it — obviously a lot of others do
AwardsDaily: I don’t know who ever made you the moral authority on class.
ScottFeinberg: Who made you it? You’re the one writing lengthy essays about me saying that I personally didn’t appreciate someone’s behavior.
AwardsDaily: You tweeted it to all of your followers. That is different from saying it. That’s being a cog in a smear campaign.
ScottFeinberg: So how would you classify your incessant dumping on The King’s Speech or The Artist?
AwardsDaily: I haven’t once dumped on The Artist. It didn’t deserve Best Screenplay. The King’s Speech flat out didn’t deserve to win
ScottFeinberg: I’m not saying I necessarily even disagree with you, but that’s not any less inappropriate than what you’ve accused me of.
AwardsDaily: You’re saying people who are dumping on The Artist are lacking class. And I’m saying [that] shutting up for a studio campaign is hardly class.
ScottFeinberg: Yes, I do think it’s classless to dump on a movie that you’re supposed to be objectively covering minutes after it wins an award
AwardsDaily: Who says I was supposed to be objective about anything? That’s the last thing I claim to be.
The Artist dominated the BAFTA awards this evening — Best Picture, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius), Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Original Screenplay (Hazanavicius), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music. With each successive award I felt number and number. I am berefet of all feeling…nothing. I’m a cypher sitting in a leather chair.
Previous Update (1:32 pm Pacific): Nobody with their mind and feet half-planted in the real, non-movie-blogging world (like me) gives a damn about the BAFTA awards. The BBC America broadcast is delayed until this evening, and you can’t even watch a live feed online. There’s Twitter, of course, and the blow-by-blows on various film fanatic sites (like In Contention) but who cares anyway? It’s already turning into a celebration of Artist and Hugo love.
All right, I can support the BAFTA guys giving Tyrannosaur director Paddy Considine their Best British Debut award…fine.
Wait…the BAFTAs gave Best Foreign Language Film to Pedro Almodovar‘s The Skin I Live In? Almodovar never makes a bad film and I enjoyed Skin as far as it went, but c’mon — it’s unmistakably one of his lesser efforts. And they blew off A Separation to do this?
Guillaume Schiffman‘s black-and-white cinematography for The Artist was won a BAFTA award. But it didn’t offer a scrupulous recreation of a late 1920s film, which is what The Artist is all about (revisitings, film styles, getting it right) and what it should have been. It looks a little too glossy and fluid. 1920s films were much more static and antiquated looking.
Best Film: The Artist.
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist. Wells response: Sigh..whatever.
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady. Wells response: Maybe this isn’t such a shocker. The Brits voted for a story that portrayed, or at least reflected, their own history and culture. A vot efor Viola Davis would have obviously been a vote portraying or reflecting American culture, so there you are,
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist. Wells response: Why not a BAFTA award for director of most widely-liked default consensus film of 2011?
Best Animated Film: Rango. Wells response: I understood and appreicated of what Rango was up to, but I was bored.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Wells response: Brits standing up for their own.
Best Documentary: Senna. Wells response: Why not?
Rising Star Award: Adam Deacon. Wells response: Who’s Adam Deacon?
Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist. Wells response: Better than the original screenplays of Midnight in Paris or A Separation? This is lunacy.
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help. Wells response: This means Meryl’s not winning Best Actress…right?
Best British Film: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners. Wells response: Fine.
Best Production Design: Hugo
Best British Debut: Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur
Best Foreign Language Film: The Skin I Live In. Wells response: They’re serious?
Best Makeup: The Iron Lady.
Best Costume Design: The Artist. Wells response: Those 1920s outfits were wonderful! I loved them! So accurate!
Best Cinematography: The Artist. Wells response: Not that special, certainly not deserved.
Best Film Editing: Senna.
Best Sound: Hugo.
Best Music: The Artist. Wells response: Give me a break!
Best Visual Effects: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
The BAFTAs are not even being broadcast live in the UK. They take the raw footage and edit it all into a two-hour package — and then the show is broadcast a couple of hours later.